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A note from Kyerality

A mysterious figure appears on the outskirts of Genesis village seeking something important. Later, a trio of young warriors prepare to apprehend a host of bandits.

The dismal sky was immediately lit by the luster of a mysterious vehicle making a meteoric fall. It stopped abruptly, hovering just above the ground as the light subsided, and the triangular roof hatch opened. Out of the star-shaped vehicle emerged a cloaked young woman sporting light armor of ashen gray and a helmet of carved obsidian, the translucent visor covering her face from forehead to chin.

Though the entire forest ahead was shrouded in darkness, her eyes captured the faintest glimmering through the trees and shone with an emerald glow. Having scanned her immediate surroundings, she transformed the levitating vehicle into a small silver star that fit in her hand, returning it to her waist as she removed a crystalline orb. The orb emitted warm colors when she moved it from side to side as if it was a mystical compass.

Manifesting from the shadows behind her were strange long-limbed creatures with glossy, blood-red skin, stretching their grotesque bodies as they lunged towards her. With a split-second evasion she narrowly avoided them, but a ‘clink!’ was heard as the creatures’ dagger-like claws made contact with the orb.

Throwing back her cloak, she raised her weapon, a glowing white metal crossbow, and unleashed a flurry of bolts upon her attackers, causing them to shatter and leave behind clouds of red mist. Following the short scuffle, the mystery arrival inspected the orb to ascertain the damage, when it soon overflowed with bright blue energy that shot outwards and concentrated into one stream, zig-zagging through a few trees.

Following the energy trail, she soon exited the forest, just in time to observe sparks of energy flitter about like lightning in the atmosphere around and above a nearby village. Reaching under her cloak once more, she removed a small triangle-shaped device and released it in the air.

A moment passed and the device began to beep rapidly, followed by streams of green light that formed translucent holograms of two figures in front of her, both females wearing sleek, military-style dress uniforms. The taller of the two had braided, shoulder-length hair, while the other’s short hair reached her cheeks. The stranger spoke first.

“This is Number III, reporting in.”

“Numbers II and VI receiving,” responded II, the taller of the two holograms. “What’s your status?”

“I’m on the outskirts of the village. There are quite a few *Fractured in the surrounding area, and I’m picking up on a spike in the local *mana. There’s also a lingering signature. Please advise.”

“What we gleaned from the intel suggests occasional spikes are not atypical,” stated VI, curious of III’s statement. “Can you verify whether or not it matches the one we’re looking for?”

“It’s not a 100% match, but I suppose. Thing is, it’s not exactly dispersing, just hanging in the atmosphere. Weird huh?”

“How odd… That kind of occurrence must have some notable effects worth studying,” replied VI, deep in thought and rubbing her chin.

A Fractured began to crawl slowly towards III as if sizing up potential prey. Aware of its presence, III picked up a nearby rock and tossed it with tremendous force, turning back to her comrades as the Fractured broke apart and dispersed.

“Speaking of which, I’m not trying to jinx it, but if their numbers keep increasing, the villagers might not stand a chance.”

“In that case, you’ll do your best to keep them out for the duration of the mission,” advised II. 

“Ugh, sounds like busywork. I’d rather be in and out, no distractions or side quests.”

Addressing her firmly, II raised her voice to assert her seriousness. 

“It’s not as simple as ‘in and out’ with the Fractured nearby. Would you rather find our target in a settlement ravaged by those monsters? We don’t need the interference, much less any civilians caught in a crossfire.”

Realizing she had no other options, III waved her hand back and forth dismissively.

“Yeah yeah, public image and all that.”

Rejoining the conversation, VI addressed III.

“This should be an easy one for you. Follow the orb and it’ll lead you right to them.”

“Yeah... about that. Got a teeny tiny problem, it was… damaged in a fight just now.”

“Seriously?!” Yelled VI. “Those things are one of a kind!!”

“Jeez, take it easy. It’s uh, fixable right?”

“Fixa- what part of ‘one of a kind’ don’t you understand?!”

“Compose yourself, Number VI,” interjected II. “Number III, has it ceased functionality?”

“I wouldn’t say that. It clued me in on the spike and the stagnant energy. Led me right to the village too.”

VI cleared her throat, and spoke in a calm manner.“Well, there’s no telling exactly how accurate it’ll be from now on, but it’s better than nothing.  I’ll run diagnostics when you come back and try to fix it.”

“In any case, we need this mission to succeed, as I’d rather avoid another *Mefitis,” added II, unfolding her arms. “Stay on course number III, and when necessary, deal with the Fractured. Consider it a secondary objective.”

“You got it, boss,” said III as she gestured with finger guns.

The figures dispersed, filling the air with disappearing fragments of energy in the shape of petals as III returned the tetrahedron under her cloak. She stretched her arms above her head, then began walking towards the village.

“So, this is where you’re hiding, Number I.”

 

~X~

As twilight broke through the trees in a distant section of the same forest, two young men sat some distance from a circular clearing, at the center of which stood an ancient temple, entirely untouched by the overgrowth. Dressed in full defensive gear with their helmets at their feet, they seemed to be preparing for a confrontation.

Rami, the taller of the two, scanned the façade of the temple, having kept watch for any changes. He rested his broad shoulders against the tree behind him as he held up a tattered map, studying it.

A few subtle rays of the rising sun revealed his face: bronze in complexion, with amber eyes that glistened as he focused intently. A warm aura formed around his hair, composed of short crimson locks held together by a hair tie at the back of his head. With the passing of a butterfly, one of his sharply curved ears flickered, prompting him to scratch at his sideburn.

The other young man, named Aram, flipped through a peculiar looking book. His bluish-silver eyes shimmered with interest as they darted back and forth, enraptured by the world within the pages.

As he ran his fingers through his dark brown twisted curls, a subtle shifting of the foliage caused him to notice an unknown figure approaching. When he recognized the armor, he returned to the pages, unbothered.

The stranger, dressed in moderate light armor and somewhat loose-fitting garments announced their presence, revealing by voice to be a young woman, whose helmet and tinted visor obscured most of her face.

“I made it! Auriel, reporting for duty!”

Aram rolled his eyes, annoyed at her beaming smile. 

“And you’re late.”

“Ah, sorry about that, I don’t travel through this forest much. Or at all, really.”

Rolling up the map, Rami stepped forward and acknowledged her. 

“You said… is it, Ari… Auriel? The volunteer, yes?” 

“Yes, and Ellie is fine, most people call me that.”

“Well then Ellie, thanks for joining us. I’m Rami, and the sullen reader over there is Aram.”

“Thanks for having me,” replied Auriel, shaking his hand.

"You know, you can take off your helmet, right?"

“Oh, I know, I'm fine with it on for now," she quickly stated. "So, what exactly are we doing? Surveillance? Catching bad guys? The request was a little vague.”

“Let me show you.”

Bending on one knee, he rolled out the tattered map on the ground. Gathering energy in his left index finger, he touched the edge of the map, causing the energy to spread through the parchment, revealing a number of glowing spots. Auriel’s eyes filled with interest and amazement as the spots reflected in them.

“Whoa! You’re a *wielder huh?”

“Kind of. Only a few of us in the *GCU have an aptitude for magic. Him too.” Grinning, he pointed at Aram. “And you...?”

“Me? Oh… no, no I don’t. I’m not a wielder or anything fancy like that.”

“Really? Hmm…”

Overhearing the conversation, Aram decided to share his thoughts.

 “Someone without an ability joining this type of mission doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” He snapped. “I’m not sure who you’re trying to impress by fighting outside the village, but rethink it. It’s dangerous, and we aren’t here to protect you.”

Bothered by his remarks, Auriel stepped up towards him, but Rami put up his arm to stop her. He turned to address Aram.

“I’m sure she knows what she signed up for, and can handle herself. So lay off, alright?”

“Hmm. As you wish.” 

Aram turned away to continue reading his book, as Auriel shook her head in irritation.

“What’s his problem?” she asked, annoyed by his unfriendly attitude.

“Don’t mind him, he’s grouchy most of the time,” responded Rami, while hovering a hand over the map. “Let’s continue… See these four points that appeared? They’re the bandits we’ve been tracking for a series of smash and grabs. For some reason, they’ve been using the sub-temple as a sort of temporary base.”

“Huh. Why there? Do they need some sort of relic?”

“Who knows. I personally think they needed a convenient location to prep for raids. Not anymore though, as we’re about to put an end to that. Speaking of, we may or may not have to slightly change the plan. It’ll work out though, I’m sure of it.”

“Uh… Change how?”

“Well, let me preface this by saying we thought our third person was going to be another wielder,” Rami remarked, scratching his head as his face twisted in thought. “As it turns out, two of the bandits are wielders.”

Unsure of the response he was looking for, Auriel shrugged.

“Well my bad, but the request did ask for an able body in general.”

“It’s fine, the manning has always been poor in the *GSO, causing the units to take what they can get. We’re really glad for your help.”

From behind his book, Aram raised an eyebrow and stared daggers at Rami for grouping them together. Annoyed, he matched the gaze’s intensity.

“That’s right, we are glad for the help. Anyway. In the original plan, Aram and I enter the sides for a pincer attack, while our third-person guards the entrance to trap the fleeing bandits. With that ambush, it would be a quick takedown.”

“And now?”

“Well, I’m thinking we can still use the entrance, but you’ll have to play it up a bit. Seeing as how they don’t know that you’re not a welder, we can take advantage of their caution in an ambush and get ‘em all.”

Yet again, Aram stopped reading to interject.

“So we’re bluffing then? You put a lot of stock in probability.”

“Maybe,” grinned Rami. “It’s fun to play with dice every now and then.”

“As long as you take responsibility when things go sideways, I won’t have a problem.”

“Yeah yeah, I get it.”

Peering over the map in curiosity, Auriel called their attention to something she noticed.

“Looks like they’re heading this way. Any bets that the last one is gonna try to run off?”

“Obviously,” commented Aram as he promptly shut his book. “That’s a given when you’re outnumbered and have a potential escape route.” 

“Obviously,” repeated Auriel in a sarcastic tone.

“I’ll take that bet!” declared Rami, playing along. “2 Silver says he’ll be too scared to move when he sees how quick we take down the others.”

“You’re on then!”

The rowdy bandits knocked over a few items as they made their way to a central room before the entrance. Rami and Aram quickly executed their ambush, sending the bandits in a confused frenzy as they scrambled to fight or flee.

Two of the ruffians engaged the duo in battle using water element magic; one conjuring weapons, and the other forming throwable projectiles. Aram deflected the projectiles with a quick draw of his sword and subsequent slashes, while Rami evaded and charged in with raised fists imbued with energy, bobbing and weaving for swift dodges, and breaking the conjured weapons with heavy punches. The other two tripped over themselves while making their escape.

“There’s the entrance! We’re gonna make it!” yelled the closest bandit to the entrance.

The posted warrior sprang out like a hunter cornering escaped prey.

“Don’t celebrate too early!”

“What the-?”

Upon hearing behind him the sound of his counterparts being subdued, the remaining bandit stepped back and pulled out a knife, facing Auriel. She stood ready with her shield raised, gripping her tonfa tightly in preparation for a battle. A short moment passed as his eyes filled with suspicion. He slowly raised the knife higher for a strike.

“Drop it, or you won’t be able to use that hand again. For a while at least.”

As they stood there, his eyes shifted from caution to knowing. 

“Huh… You can’t use magic, can you?”

“Is that what you think?”

“Yeah, yeah!” he responded confidently. “Or you would have done something by now! I can beat you, easy!”

Auriel smirked, “If that’s what you believe then go ahead. Flip that coin.”

The bandit scowled, watching out for Rami as he walked up. Now faced with two combatants, he seemed uneasy about his chances of escape.

“Okay! Okay! Alright, you got me!”

“Good. Didn’t want to have to set you on fire, though I was in the mood for it.”

At her remark, he nervously dropped his knife, and pulled out a small item from his jacket with his other hand, tossing it to the floor. With a quick bang, it created a large cloud of smoke, and Auriel began coughing, jumping back to get out.

Through half-open eyes she noticed the bandit running through the forest. With a powerful wave of his arm, Rami cleared the smoke and walked over to her.

“Set him on fire??” He asked incredulously.

“Well it confused him for a second, didn’t it?”

“And then he got jumpy and ran!”

“I know. Still, got that 2 Silver?”

“How about you catch him first?”

“You got it,” laughed Auriel, as she set off to catch her foe.

 

~End of Chapter~

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~Notes~

*Fractured: Monstrous creatures that prey on humans/humanoids. Are often lanky, long-limbed.

*Mana: Energy that permeates the universe. Can be harnessed to perform magical feats.

*Mefitis: A city lost to the Fractured. 

* Wielder: A being capable of harnessing and controlling energy.

*GCU: Genesis Countermeasures Unit, formed to counteract human threats outside the village.

*GSO: Genesis Security Operations, the overarching security entity of the village. 

 




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A note from Kyerality

First chapter edit complete! Will be summarily doing the rest when I got more time.


About the author

Kyerality

Bio: Avid fan of comics/manga and animated shows since I was a kid, I spent a lot of time writing/drawing my own stories.

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